The direct teaching of reading and spelling starts with Phonics. At St James’s C.E. Primary School, we follow Letters and Sounds– Little Wandle. Children in EYFS, year 1 and year 2 have daily phonics sessions which may be whole class based. Children participate in speaking, listening and spelling activities that are matched to their developing needs. The practitioners draw upon observations and continuous assessment to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify any pupils who may require additional support. Children work through 6 detailed phases, learning and developing their phonics sounds and knowledge. Phonics lessons follow a set format and are well paced to ensure that children are secure in their acquisition. Click here to visit our phonics page.
We us Kinetic Letters to teach handwriting alongside our Phonics and Spelling teaching. This supports children from the very start with gross and fine motor skills, enabling them to write more fluidly, accurately and quickly and enabling them to naturally progress into joined handwriting. We have two parent support pages on our website one for letter and number formation and a second which moves on to joining.
At St James’s C.E. Primary School, reading is at the core of all that we do and we value the many benefits that reading provides. We believe that it is key for academic success and it plays a big part across our Curriculum on a daily basis. We promote a reading culture that inspires children to love reading, makes them want to read and helps them to develop into ardent, avid readers and lifelong learners.
All children visit the library fortnightly either to select a book or to work on library and reading skills with their class teacher. Sessions will include input about different authors, discussing and listening to stories, independent research skills and supporting children to select a book to take home to share with their families. Year 6 librarians run lunchtime clubs for younger pupils to support them to value our wonderful school library resource and immerse themselves in a good book.
All children will be provided with a home reading book appropriate to their level of reading and/ or phonics. Pupils will be encouraged to borrow an additional interest book that they can share with their family and friends. In addition, class teachers will allocate electronic books appropriate to each child’s reading ability via Bug Club. Pupils not able to access this online facility at home will be given the time and resources to at school. Bug Club provides children with appropriate challenge, immediate and regular feedback, teacher assessment of pupils’ comprehension as well as motivating children to read independently and frequently. Children record their reading in reading journals which are monitored and celebrated weekly by school staff.
We use reading strategies, reading domain dogs (Vocabulary Victor; Inference Iggy; Rex the Retriever; Predicting Pip; Sequencing Suki; Arlo the Author; Cassie the Commentator; Summarising Sherba) along with reading actions to ensure that children understand the reading skills that they are learning.
Reading is taught following a weekly teaching cycle:
Monday: Vocabulary boost
Using STAR (select, teach, activate and review) techniques children learn and use new vocabulary.
Tuesday: MaP (model and practice) lesson.
Teachers will model a domain (friends/ dogs) or good reader skills (bones) matched to the National Curriculum content. Children will practise using models and stem sentences provided.
Wednesday: MaP (model and practice) lesson.
MaP (model and practice) lesson or independent comprehension.
As above or independent comprehension to assess pupil progress.
Independent reading lesson
Children use the skills acquired to read independently. Children will regularly visit the library during this session.
As well as teaching reading for instruction, we are keen to establish a love of reading in our pupils. Reading for pleasure is vital for children to become lifelong readers who engage and respond to texts. Our aim is to work with families to ensure that their children develop confident and motivated reading habits. Reading areas are established in classrooms. Pupils will see adults modelling social reading, reading aloud and informal conversations about books that we enjoy. Pupils of all ages benefit from being read to by adults and enjoy sharing books and stories.
Reading across the curriculum is vitally important to children’s application of reading and understanding of reading for purpose. Quality texts are used throughout the curriculum as a source of knowledge and a stimulus for learning.
Please see our Reading Policy for greater detail on how reading is encouraged and taught at our school. Click here to visit our policies website page.
English at St James’s
At St James’s CE Primary School, our English curriculum is driven by high quality texts. These act as the stimulus for writing and form aspirational models for the children to explore. Our writing spine has been chosen to expose children to text types that could pose a barrier if they were exploring these independently.
Our chosen texts fall into the following categories:
Resistant texts – These are texts written to encourage the reader to make sense of them by seeking meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues.
Non-Linear texts – These are texts with plots and storylines that do not flow chronologically. They may include flashbacks (or flash forwards) as well as storytelling from a range of perspectives.
Figurative texts – These are texts with morals and lessons to be learned. They could include characters learning life lessons or stories which take the reader on a moral journey.
Narratively complex texts – These can be stories with multiple narrators, narrators who have an unusual perspective on events or even narrators who are animal rather than human!
Archaic texts – These are classic stories: books that have stood the test of time.
Through exploring these tricky text types, children gain skills and experience to enable them to become life-long readers and writers but just as importantly, these are books that are full of magic, mystery and fun!
Our English curriculum also includes high quality poetry, non-fiction texts and enrichment experiences to ensure every child finds their enthusiasm and spark for reading and writing.
Our teaching of spelling follows the No Nonsense Spelling Programme where spelling rules are mapped out termly. Spelling is taught discretely and children are given the opportunity to apply their spelling knowledge when writing.